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Iowa Allure

8/6/2012
Iowa Allure

August 6, 2012 Knoxville, Iowa: Southern Iowa Speed Week is underway and I am underfoot. Each summer’s magnetic pull is the same. Get here, find your friends, and laugh ‘til dawn.

I left Indianapolis on Friday for the World of Outlaws at Bloomington (IN) Speedway. At that time, I predicted a more leisurely path to Iowa via Haubstadt MSCS, Pevely WoO or Grain Valley USAC. But the very idea that friends were laughing without me provoked a change in plans. I left Bloomington on a northwest trajectory, making my bed in Arcola, Illinois. On rainy Saturday morning, I crossed the mighty Mississippi at Fort Dodge and got two to five to the third and conclusive night of the Knoxville 360 Nationals.

Last year’s burning desire to see POWRi midgets on Missouri’s U.S 36 Raceway and USAC sprints in Eagle, Nebraska also pulled me into the Hawkeye State for 360 Nationals. Eagle rained out on the same Friday as the World of Outlaws return to Bloomington. This summer, I flipped the script by skipping Eagle for Bloomington. By benefit of hindsight, this now appears wrong. USAC sprints at U.S 36 were the Sunday show that I did not wish to miss. Julie Ripperger offered round-trip passage that I chose to accept. Oskaloosa goes tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday at Knoxville was one week and 800 miles from my previous Saturday at the Eldora (OH) Speedway. On the evening before USAC sprints attacked Eldora for $10,000 to win, I ended up at Limaland Motorsports Park. Keeping in character, it was quite spontaneous. My aim on that Friday had been Gas City I-69 Speedway for anything remotely resembling its exhilarating Indiana Sprint Week opener. Instead, I just got wet, haunted by an ugly little bruise of a cloud that sat over the track just long enough to drown all racing. Beyond the edge of the storm however, was sunshine. A hundred miles northeast, Limaland was still in play.

Here’s where unconventional wisdom rears its head. The addict reasoned that since he was already headed to Eldora why not widen the loop to Lima? Even if both rained out, at least I’d have Yuengling for Nationals. I explained it all to a stranger in Limaland’s top row, but drew a blank stare. “You mean you live in Indianapolis, got rained out in Gas City, and came here?”

Why yes, I fired east of I-69 on 22 to 26 and across the Indiana/Ohio line where 67 turns to 29 to Celina, where 127 was blocked by a street festival so I stayed on 29 to 66 to 81 to Dutch Hollow Road, home to Limaland Motorsports Park.

Limaland is a lovely almost idyllic quarter-mile with corner radius and banking that generally provide good drivers with good options. No good reason can explain why ten years passed between personal visits. Every summer, I hope to hit its Brad Doty Classic but Indiana Sprint Week fatigue (financial and physical) has annually precluded it.

July’s final Friday was my first time at Lima since 2002 when J.J Yeley turned his ABC sprint car over in victory lane. By circumstance (dust), I stood only a few feet from this over-exuberance, close enough to lean in as J.J hung upside-down.

“Who do you think you are?” I asked, “Rickie Gaunt?” Once righted and wriggled free, J.J did reference Rickie’s similar stunt in Cottage Grove, Oregon in 1995.

Yeley’s win at Lima came in the late lamented Buckeye Nationals when USAC sprints and USAC midgets paired up on four Ohio ovals in four nights at Attica, Fremont, Lima and Eldora. Winning the midget race at Lima in 2002 was A.J Fike, who ran a modified from row ten to second at his local Knox County Fair 2012.

Long before Buckeye Nationals, Limaland was a log on the fire that built the World of Outlaws. Its high banked quarter was a frequent destination for Illinois gypsy Bubby Jones and Indiana’s Karl Kinser, both of whom won there in ‘73-74. Dub May of El Paso won there in ’77 and a year later, Limaland hosted three of the first WoO shows. The first was won by Rick Ferkel and the next two went to Karl, who had replaced Dick Gaines with Steve Kinser. Dean Miracle took two more Limaland WoO dates in ’79 won by Steve and Sammy Swindell’s Federal Express. The place closed for a while. Jack Hewitt won my first Lima visit in 1985. It was a dump: dark and dreary. Brent Kaeding visited with CRA in ’91 and thought if Limaland were in California his state would shut the place down.

All that changed. By 1994, Limaland Motor Speedway had become Limaland Motorsports Park. The old front stretch became the back. For the past 15 years, Limaland has been uniquely operated by the University of Northwestern Ohio and has become quite the palace. Paved pit and spectator roads, ornamental rockery, fountain and picnic pavilion are just some of the luxuries one finds before even entering the arena, which offers an array of viewing options, tables and grassy areas for restless children. Successful speedways know how spectator enjoyment can be tied to seemingly small details. One rude parking lot attendant or no soap in the restroom can ruin an evening for a casual observer.

Here’s a good idea: when it’s really hot, serve ice cream! Limaland offered blueberry relief from a very cute girl, which brings up another point to which New Egypt is wise. Why not have pretty girls to rip your ticket rather than an unsmiling soldier like the guy at Kokomo?

In the past decade, no place has rained out as often as Limaland, which made my seeing a race all the more remarkable. Evidence of rain and wind (fallen branches) depleted optimism until I heard engine noise. Rain had delayed the program approximately 90 minutes, which was longer than the hour I spent there. One twelve dollar ticket bought three heats and a feature for winged 360 sprint cars. Weather had blessed me with a Limaland for the ages.

Randy Hannagan has become the man to beat at Lima on most Friday nights. He should be. Hannagan is the only NRA racer with World of Outlaws experience and Dennis Yoakam provides him good equipment. Crystal, Michigan made nine wins for Hannagan/Yoakam in 2012: five at Lima and three at Eldora. Randy reached second in Friday’s opening heat won by Devon Dobie, who inverted ten. That stuck Hannagan eighth and placed Hud Horton on pole.

Hud knew what to do with the big ledge, leading all 25 laps. The first 18 stayed green and Horton’s brake rotor stayed orange. Mike Dunlap spun and J.R Stewart flipped over him for a red flag. Hud’s handful of lapped cars were all removed and Hannagan restarted on his tail. Horton was undaunted, riding the cushion away from The Hurricane. It marked Hud’s first full sprint win since K-C Raceway closed. In recent years, Horton humbled mini sprints each time they hit Lawrenceburg’s super speedway. His car owned by Ron French is sponsored by Speed Partz, predominantly a mini sprint house.

Friday’s victory lane revealed French and Horton had a secret weapon in Marshall Campbell, the Lima engine builder who became an All Star champion with Kevin Huntley. Hud told the crowd that Marshall offers chassis advice. In 1988, Campbell Racing Engines teamed with Nance Speed Equipment of Kansas for an All Star effort that began with Jimmy Sills before shifting to Rickey Hood (they took 10k from Eldora), Jac Haudenschild and Rodney Duncan. Campbell later met Lima preacher Jim Wahlie and formed a championship team behind Huntley.

Upon leaving Limaland, I drove past Mello Crème Donuts, which along with Nickles Brothers and Radio Hospital, are three fairly famous sprint car names. Mello Creme fielded the car that Danny Smith raced on that inaugural WoO trail of ’78; Don and Harold Nickles won the ’78 WoO finale at Eldora with Shane Carson in their Trostle and later marketed NBC Steering; and Ralph DePalma’s Radio Hospital won the 1984 USAC Silver Crown championship with Dave Blaney and still fields a champ car. I saw Radio Hospital’s only USAC win at Nazareth with Keith Kauffman in 1982.

The decision to drive to Eldora is never as easy as it should be. It is, after all, the greatest venue in short track racing. I do believe that. Earl Baltes put it there and Tony Stewart and staff have only made it nicer. But recent races have not been the kind that made it great. People want to like it. It’s Eldora! It’s fun and often breathtaking. But if you don’t own a pair of goggles, don’t come any closer than Celina. And if wings are involved, sprint cars are likely to replace dust with rubber. Perhaps a suite is in my future. I would be quicker to try the infield approach if Eldora also had a bar in the pits.

Joining the Eldora promotional staff in 2012 was Roger Slack, who has always thought outside the box. Among his innovations are the World Finals at Charlotte and double-file restarts for the World of Outlaws. “Banana boxes” were Slack’s non-destructive way to mark the inside of the corners at The Dirt Track Formerly Known as Lowe’s. For his current place of employ, Roger envisioned a Big Race for traditional sprint cars. To that end, he concocted the NAPA Summer Shootout, borrowing heavily from Kings Royal protocol. Heats and feature were inverted more deeply with “cash to pass” incentives. For every row passed, the winner would receive $500.

As usual at Eldora, Robert Ballou was the center of USAC attention. In his heat, Robert tried to cut under Darren Hagen but bumped the Dynamics 69 sideways, got himself sideways, and collected Damion Gardner and Chase Stockon. In the B, Ballou charged from row nine to take Landon Simon’s final transfer on the final corner. But he saved his best for the A-main, perching on a treacherous cushion to advance from 25th to third, often airborne. Had he somehow managed to win, Ballou would have grossed $16,000. Instead, the driveline surrendered on lap 46 of 50. Despite the fact that he limped off the track, the yellow flag fell anyway.

Up front, Dave Darland had put an early flyer on Bryan Clauson, who closed as Darland slowed. Dust was the culprit. Dave could not clearly locate the cushion, so he expressed gratitude for letting it settle somewhat. Darland and Jeff Walker made $10,500 for their tenth win of 2012.

Slack’s format needs tweaking. By inverting heat races yet rewarding those winners with starting spots in the front two rows, Eldora encouraged time trial dishonesty. Darland deliberately tanked his time to start up front in his heat, which he won. And of course, making cars that cannot go 50 laps is just stupid. Coleman Gulick’s engine explosion on lap 24 was used to refuel. Several drivers took the opportunity to swap tires and restart at the back. Thomas Meseraull restarted last and retrieved fifth-place.

Clauson settled for second chased by Jon Stanbrough, who led USAC Amsoil points into Eagle Raceway after 21 of 44 races: 1198 to 1192 over Levi Jones, who won another Indiana Sprint Week crown without winning any of its seven races. Levi made good on his promise to Tony Stewart that if he hired Scott Benic, TSR was guaranteed another mini-series title.

After losing leads to Darland at Kokomo and Eldora, Clauson gained a small measure of revenge by defeating Dave in Sunday night’s Bob Darland Memorial at Kokomo. Bryan’s was an amazing effort that showed the depth of his multi-sponsored team. Forced to start last in a spare car, Clauson stayed on the bottom and passed everyone for a $3000 victory, his eighth of 2012 internationally.

Indiana Sprint Week was a coming of age for Kevin Thomas Jr. and Chuck Leary Jr. Thomas of Cullman, Alabama made an exceptional burst to win beat USAC at Bloomington. Nothing smooth about it. But at Lincoln Park, K.T ran a disciplined low line that nearly stole first from Darland and Shane Cottle. Clauson did feel that Thomas passed him in the infield, but this is a recurring theme at Putnamville because the inside is seldom defined. Leary got up in the chair to take Bloomington’s last transfer from Chase Briscoe.

Placed on probation by USAC a few weeks before Sprint Week, Ballou chose to cash in on his role as villain with ten dollar T-shirts that said, “Arrived on Vacation & Left on Probation.” He printed a hundred and sold out immediately. Along with new wagering was the side bet regarding which night Ballou would violate the hazy terms of probation. In his Lawrenceburg heat, Robert got into Darland, nearly spun Dave into the path of Levi, who banged wheels with Ballou post-race. USAC deemed the Darland bump unintentional and in fact, fined Jones. Kokomo could not rain out early enough to spare Ballou from crashing.

Since Sprint Week was supposed to be over, Darren Hagan scheduled an ARCA test that precluded Putnamville’s rain date. Richard Hoffman replaced Darren with Chad Boespflug, who had Kyle Larson ready to ride Nine-Eight until a broken rear was detected by crew chief Landon Simon.

Scotty Weir’s split from Monte Edison has yet to work well for either party. Weir made only two of seven Sprint Week A-mains with the Wingo 77. Edison and Casey Shuman missed the USAC cut at Bloomington and Haubstadt. Weir made the Eldora A-main in the Simon 22 and earned eighth at the Darland Memorial in the first race for Scott Benic’s car since May’s Hulman Classic at Terre Haute.

Matt Mitchell towed from California to become an Indiana Sprint Week whipping boy. Three different guys drove into Matt in one Lawrenceburg heat race. He asserted himself to qualify at Kokomo but when Hagen spun at Terre Haute, he launched Matt into a flip that rapped his melon against the Action Track homestretch. Mitchell’s Midwestern tour ended.

Thomas Meseraull’s rides (Stansland 41/Keen 18) seemed to lack USAC muscle but a dismal Sprint Week by Chris Windom found Kenny Baldwin replacing Chris with Meseraull at Eldora and Kokomo where they recently smashed the track record. Stanslund had Jerry Coons for the Darland until residual Saturday problems put it back in the trailer.

Terre Haute staged a disappointing Don Smith Classic. It was a little too wet, especially for heat races when only one (Coleman Gulick) of the fastest six could advance two spots to transfer, highly unusual on the wide half-mile. This odd occurrence reached back to 12th for a pole sitter in Daron Clayton, who led all 30 laps. He never hit turn one the same way twice. Daron’s basic line was to enter four wheels up in the fluff, turn sideways, and catch the bottom of turn two. When he hit it right, Clayton executed a nice arc that gapped any pursuit. But at least once, he nearly spun. Daron has been deeply discouraged operating race-to-race so precariously that one issue parks him for weeks. Terre Haute’s Ray Morgan brought Clayton to Illinois and Daron swept Farmer City and Flora. It was not subtle. Korey Weyant was leading and livid after Clayton’s errant slide. And victory doughnuts were so tight at Flora that Daron shook his tank loose. He gave a quick encore on Terre Haute’s homestretch that hurt his engine.

Damion Gardner’s annual summer blues deepened when his car owner, sponsor and friend Patrick Kehoe died before Saturday’s race at Eldora. Pace Electronics helped more racers than anyone will ever know from Gardner to Chase Briscoe, Dan Drinan, John Scott and Chuck Ciprich. Back in 1988, Pat wrote a letter expressing appreciation for my writing and as something of a personal favor, Kehoe bought a couple of tires for struggling outlaw Rich Bubak at Ascot Park.

Bryan Clauson’s charge at Tri-State was remarkable. He traded slides with Stanbrough for the lead but caught the curb in turn two and dumped. Into the pits for a fresh right rear, Mike Dutcher pulled some spacers, swapped the left rear for less stagger, and tightened Bryan for the bottom. He passed 15 cars in 11 laps to retrieve third-place. Chase Stockon came from row ten to fifth.

One of the Indiana Sprint Week drives that personally impressed me was turned in by Lauren Stewart, better half to Bryan Clauson who bolted from Kokomo to Eldora in time for the Kings Royal B-main! At the time when Kokomo postponed, I did not think Eldora was realistic and discouraged a few friends from even trying. Lauren proved that I was full of shit.

Richard Rauser and Keith Barto, two of those harboring King Royal notions until I threw cold water, opened Indiana Sprint Week at Gas City (extremely pleased by the epic Clauson/Jones duke-a-roo) but were rained out at Kokomo (they could not come back) and stopped at Dog Hollow on Sunday to be rained out again. A second wave of Pennsylvania race chasers arrived for the second leg of Sprint Week but headed home by way of ARDC at Mercer and the Dog Hollow show postponed by a week.

Those who could not come back to Kokomo on Monday or Putnamville on Sunday wondered if those tracks would have been so quick to postpone if two viable rain dates did not exist. But one can hardly blame USAC for the foresight to have rain dates ready. In the superstitious world of auto racing, some feel that the mere mention of rain can doom a program.

Brent Beauchamp was as happy with third against USAC at Bloomington as Thomas was winning. Brent was so happy that he went to Haubstadt for the first time and turned the third fastest lap.

Lincoln Park belonged to Shane Cottle for 26 of 30 laps before Darland slid him twice in turn three. One week later, Cottle won the 25th annual Putnamville Clash by sliding Shuman on a late restart much as Darland did to Shane six nights before.

Kody Swanson, crunched into Lincoln Park’s homestretch wall by Darland during his Sprint Week heat race, ran second at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in a Six-R champ car (he leads points after five of nine races) and tumbled down Eldora’s fourth turn banking.

Bloomington brought the blade to smooth the center, sliced a little deeper than intended, and compensated by building a curb that made for one of the track’s best Sprint Week A-mains ever. It was the least they could do for my mother, who took the speedway by storm during a visit for grandson’s tenth birthday. Mutti made The Frolic but refused to down a Bud Light by funnel. Helga is responsible for my love of darker German-style lagers, a surplus of which sits in the Krohn Zone.

Randy Hannagan hustled came from last to sixth at Lima one week before my arrival. His heat race at Eldora was economy of motion. Randy’s car owner Dennis Yoakam however, bumped Ryan Myers into synchronized double flips. Kyle Sauder and Hud Horton were seventh and ninth at Crystal, third and first at Lima, and second and fifth at Eldora. Jared Horstman won his heat at Lima, took third over Hannagan at Eldora and chased Hurricane to the Knoxville 360 Nationals.

Tony Stewart expands his legend every day. He won half of the World of Outlaws show at Lernerville, fourth at Brewerton and third at Fonda against All Stars, won the NRA 360 show at Eldora, swept 360 and World of Outlaws at Ohsweken, beat URC at Williams Grove, and hustled to Selinsgrove after Pocono for more rain. After his WoO race at Williams Grove, Smoke was in Lincoln Park for photos with his Indiana Sprint Week champions.

Danny Smith has been moving artillery around the map like a field general. Ninth in the first 410 feature ever at Brewerton, Smith flew home to Ohio, loaded a spare on an open trailer, ran second to Jimmy Stinson at Ripley, WV, and flew back to Lebanon Valley. Danny dropped into Illinois Sprint Week to win at Highland and Macon, chase Brian Brown around Jacksonville, and sit second at Peoria before the fence got ripped down and racing ceased. Opening the 360 Nationals, Smith flew to Bloomington and back to Knoxville.

Illinois Sprint Week created the first winged sprint car race at Highland since Springfield’s Jim Moughan won there in 1994. Illinois Sprint Week 2012 found Moughan fourth at Jacksonville and seventh at Macon. Highlands held a wingless SCRA sprint car show in 2003 won by Cory Kruseman and promoted by Joe Dooling, who swept the 2012 Belleville Midget Nationals with Jerry Coons Jr.

Fred Rahmer, who ran the entire Eastern region of the All Stars in 2011 (including the one that broke his back), skipped Brewerton to stay at Lincoln, where he was rained out after a heat race. Stevie Smith was also in the soggy house. Rahmer reached frightening altitude on The Grove’s backstretch.

Greg Hodnett swept Williams Grove and Port Royal from row six on successive nights. On the podium in all three of The Grove’s World of Outlaws races this season, Hodnett, Lee Stauffer and Joe Trone own a dozen wins in 2012.

Tim Shaffer suffered a slow start to his season but swept All Star races in New York and has proven that he can win Knoxville. Dave Lawrence and James Chambers provide the crew. Shaffer came from 21st to second at Sioux Falls.

All Stars and IRA combined to bring 38 sprint cars and a packed house to Wilmot, Wisconsin where Dale Blaney stopped Shaffer’s streak at two. Tim narrowly scored second in front of Bill Balog, the Alaska native who has eleven IRA wins in 2012 after sweeping the Wisconsin weekend at St. Croix Valley and Ashland.

Dale Blaney won at Hibbing, Minnesota. “It's a neat little joint, reminded me a lot of Waynesfield (OH) or the old Lawrenceburg (IN)," said Low Rider. Blaney qualified fastest at Winnipeg, Manitoba at 14.95 before David Gravel won his first feature since October in Talladega.

Jac Haudenschild slapped a team together, ran Top Five at Kings Royal, and qualified best at Hibbing. Haud avoided Canada at Manitoba as he did Alberta. He has an old misdemeanor that limits international travel.

Michael Parent, a 22-year old from Granby, Quebec, followed two All Star nights with his first ESS victory on the Akwesasne Reservation at Mohawk. “This feels so good,” stated Parent. “We’ve been trying for six years.” Michael joined The Outlaws at Granby, Drummond (he flipped), Cornwall (ninth) and Ohsweken where Parent produced tenth-place.

“The Cobra” Chuck Hebing won Wednesday at Utica on and Friday at Ransomville over Justin Barger, made a last-minute decision to tow six hours to Woodhull to drive his 360 past 410 leaders Alan Cole and Bob Howard to bank $2500. Howard was rained out at Clinton County, ran Woodhull and Dog Hollow.

The West Virginia Wild Thing, Mark Cassella conquered Ontario Topless Sprints at New Humberstone, missed a weekend sweep by settling for second to Michigan’s Dain Naida at South Buxton, and returned to the Eldora Speedway on which he held the track record. Traverse City, Michigan’s Joe Bares was third at South Buxton before hitting Eldora and Kokomo.

Cole Duncan followed his first Fremont win with Path Valley victory, invading at Spring Run precisely because it is small. Cole won the first 410 feature at Path Valley since 1995 when Billy Pauch topped Pennsylvania Speed Week. Before his father became an accomplished All Star, Rodney Duncan was a quarter midget friend of Bobby Labonte, who has sponsored Cole’s sprint car career.

Logan Schuchart circled Path Valley in 9.84, which was slightly slower than Pauch’s track record of 9.62. Schuchart, Marty Perovich and Jack Sodeman Jr. were the three drivers at Dog Hollow unable to return for the rain date. Logan was fourth at Lebanon Valley, Australia’s Perovich was between Wisconsin and Minnesota with the All Stars, and Sodeman had hurt his engine at Mercer. Billy Dietrich took $3000 at Dog Hollow, where another 410 feature for the same pay will happen on Sunday, August 19.

ARDC at Mercer saw Don Moore Music place sprint racer Brandon Matus in his first midget (ninth-place) and had Nate Lauderbaugh back for fifth at Montpelier, where Critter Malone was the winner.

Craig Dollansky destroyed a car at Williams Grove and won the next night at Lebanon Valley for the third time in four years. He qualified fastest (130mph) for the seventh time, tops in the series. Dollansky wrote a Drummond standard of 13.12. One crewman backing Dollansky and D.J Lindsey is Sean Michael. Sean’s kid brother Curt Michael led The Grove for two laps before fading out of the Top Ten. Dollansky left Canada with the point lead for the first time in 2012. Before Bloomington, points were led by Dollansky (6205), Steve Kinser (6191), Sammy Swindell (6154), Joey Saldana (6130) and Donny Schatz at 6150.

As with Dollansky one week before, Schatz lost a car at Drummondville before winning with a new one at Cornwall. Goodyear cannot keep up and mandatory tire rules have relaxed a bit, angering those who shopped ahead like TSR.

Brian Brown has never gone into Nationals stronger than in 2012. Brown returned from Brad Doty Classic and Kings Royal for three Jackson 360 races, winning $1500 at Fairmont. Brian swept 360 and 410 programs at Knoxville. He has done a bit of apologizing, first to R.J Johnson and then Jimmy Bridgeman and Robbie Standridge on his way to winning $3000 for the Mary Lee Standridge Memorial. Brown, Jesse Giannetto, Jac Haudenschild, Tim Kaeding and Kyle Larson were the five guys in both 360 and 410 classes last Saturday at Knoxville.

Jason Sides pulled a second car down for his brother Paul to get $800 starting money at Lebanon Valley. Sides and Shane Finch left Steve Kinser Racing for Fargo where he beat the All Stars, got rained out at Fargo, and headed back to SKR to await The King’s return to Bloomington Speedway. Sides sponsor Dancer Logistics finished fourth Friday at Lima with Shawn Dancer as driver.

Danny Lasoski ran his own Kistler XXX first at Sioux Falls and second at Jackson but will attack the Knoxville Nationals with Zemco Speed Equipment. He opened 360 Nationals victorious with Nebraska’s Mark Burch.

Sammy Swindell leads all Outlaws with eight wins after Autodrome Granby. Rick Wilson and daughter April raced with Outlaws at Granby after taking wings off for Humberstone and Buxton. James McFadden arrived from Australia to drive for Scott Mertz and wowed the WoO seventh at Granby and a near-win at Drummond.

Sprint car followers have long questioned why zillionaire Jeff Gordon has never given back to the short tracks that made him. Of course, no one has the right to tell anyone how to spend their money. And after Jeff’s first marriage ended in flames, we knew where much of his money went. But he’s sold a lot of T-shirts since then. This year, Gordon’s charity is sponsoring Shane Stewart and Paul Silva. In their first race, they won the 360 Nationals. Shane has raced for Brett Kratzmann, Luch Monte, Joe Gaerte, Scott McClaren, Rich Farmer and Finley Farms in 2012.

Tommy Tarlton is headed for Knoxville with a second car for Jason Meyers. You remember Meyers? He was champion of the World of Outlaws for the last two years. In his Tarlton debut, Jason nearly defeated ASCS at Hanford with a busted nose wing. Winning at Watsonville for the third straight Friday, Tarlton chased teammate Carson Macedo to fourth in a rare Placerville appearance. Paul Baines is Tommy’s toolman.

Princeton’s Mason Moore, first or second in four of his last five Chico starts, stunned ASCS at Placerville after leader Tony Bruce was swallowed in a seven-car pile in turn one of lap 17.

Dominic Scelzi, the 15-year old son of drag racing champion Gary Scelzi, brought a 360 from the ninth row to sixth-place against Golden State 410 forces at Antioch. He was ninth in the Santa Maria ASCS A-main a week later.

Brad Loyet climbed from row nine to eighth at Placerville, was fifth from tenth at Hanford, and won his first ASCS National at Santa Maria from eighth.

Well that tears it for now. I can now say with certainty that another Front Row Challenge went off without me. I do intend to take the Ultimate Challenge tomorrow. Otherwise, you can find me on the second floor of the National Sprint Car Hal of Fame, on a stool at the Dingus Lounge, or barking at the moon between turns three and four of the Knoxville raceway. Cheers!

Article Credit: Kevin Eckert
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